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Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekend Report

I hope that all of you had a fabulous weekend!

I was really happy to see the comments in regards to the post about introverts!  First off, I did not kill everyone by boring you to death and that is good news!  It is also very cool to hear what other stitchers' thoughts and experiences are!  It seems pretty safe to conclude (based only on the comments left here, so we won't base any scientific articles on this "research", right!? ;-)) that a fair amount of my blog readers are introvert.
The one posting exception is Joysze, who is a clear extrovert.  Joysce did also mention that she has "mellowed" a little during the years.  I can relate to that.  With age, I have also "mellowed" - I go out sometimes even though I absolutely don't feel like it because I know that a) it is "good for me" to interact with people, b) most times I have a really good time once I get myself out of the house, and c) the weekend tends to feel longer in retrospect when I experience other things that just stitching or "staying on the inside of my head"...
Back to the comments!  The rest of you count yourself into the introvert category, including my stitching peeps L-bug (...I think, she made me guess...), Bzz*Bzz*Bee, The Barbarian, and a new friend, Maggie.  The Barbarian exclaimed that she is "definitely an extrovert" until I told her what defines extrovert and intrioverts, after which she agreed that she is included in the introvert category.  That would have been my clear guess; I know The Barbarian pretty well and in addition, people in general are much more likely to make friends with people from the same category - this is an unconscious choice, but very prominent.  To Bzz*Bzz*Bee, whose DH is hinting that she needs to be more extrovert - my guess is that he is very likely also introvert, or the chances that they would get married in the first place would likely have been minimal.  (Plus, I do not see running as the ultimate "extrovert" sport.. ;-))
My Littlest Sis, who left a comment in Swedish and counts herself towards the extrovert side most of the time (she is not a full-time stitcher, but she does enjoy craft), pointed out that some people may swing between extrovert and introvert.  I agree that this may be true for a low number of people, but I would think that this is pretty unusual.  I think that it is more common that the traits get more exaggerated during different phases in life - I know that I need more alone time when work is crazy hectic, but I also remember how incredibly lonely I was when I moved to the US and that I really missed my friends in Sweden.
What can be said however, is that there are different degrees of extrovert and introvert.   I am an engineer and I work with a bunch of other engineers every day.  One of my managers pointed out that compared to some of my, much more introvert, coworkers, I probably come across as extrovert.  That is not the same as actually being extrovert.  Any additional thoughts or comments?  I love to hear what you think and tell me if you think that I am talking BS, it would be really interesting to hear why!

Well, this weekend I hung out with 15 yapping birds, one (extremely introvert) hedgehog, 6 dirty cages that desperately needed cleaned, a DH who was passed out either in bed or on the couch once he was actually not at work, and the Moss Creek SAL.  The SAL pick for this round is finally stitched up.  I really enjoy Rae's designs, but can you believe that a piece that is less than 1"x3" takes three evenings to finish!?  It is also very tricky to find a good place on the back to bury the floss ends in, since there is an ample amount of confetti going on....  Here is a picture showing the finished thimble cage piece.
The stitches included broad chain stitch, basket weaving, Algerian eye cluster and diagonal cable stitch, cross-stitch over one, coral knot, diagonal herringbone stitch, sorbello knot, Williamsburg stitch, and Rhodes stitch.  Whiew!!!  Nothing that whips up in a couple of hours, but I learn and get to practice a lot, and it looks pretty nice once finished.
I also wanted to show you how the Moss Creek kits are put together - wonderfully and with a lot of thought and love in a binder with a large picture on the front.  All the flosses, ribbons, finishing materials, come in separate plastic zip-lock bags taped to a sturdy green paper piece inserted in a plastic pocket.

The linen cuts are always very generous, which I find a great quality in a kit.  I do have to admit that I have run out of floss a couple of times, but if you e-mail Rae, she sends you more floss without a problem (as far as I understand, Rae uses a Chinese silk that none else uses, so there is no where to get this stuff but from her, to my knowledge.)  This particular kit comes with 4 pages of stitch diagrams, 11 pages of charts, and 4 pages with further stitch and finishing instructions.

Let me also show you what I got in the mail the other day; a bow with Xmas candles from Homespun elegance.  Big Dog gave L-bug one of these adorable candles as a birthday gift last year and I want on-line ASAP, tracked down the kit, called HE and ordered a bunch of them!  they will be small Xmas gifts this year.  Let me tell you that the photos on the web does not do this cutie justice at all!  Can't wait to start on these puppies!

Oh, and here is what I got in the mail on Friday - I needed some Weeks floss for the band sampler from Heartstring Samplery and here they are!  (I forgot to order one of the colors btw - I don't know what's wrong with me!!!  :-()  I did also get a Shepherds Bush Xmas ornie kit and another cute kit from Island Cottage NeedleArts; Eliza's Heart.

DH and I hit Pier One on Saturday, kinda' by mistake.  I was actually aiming for Pottery Barn, since I saw the cutest towel and pillow set there; Splish Splash.  Shows up that the closest Pottery Barn is hours away... Anyway, I got a parrot kitchen towel and a parrot runner - both adorable with borders and ruffles in flowery and checkered fabrics.  The latter was on sale for $3.49!!!  A lot cheaper than PB, right!?  Here they are in all their colorful glory (no, they don;t really go with the home but who cares - they have parrots on them!!!  By the way, have you ever seen a sad parrot picture?  I can't recall ever seeing one either...

Finally, Henny is showcasing what will be our next project...  I'll give you a hint - it is not the Richmond sampler - I just have to finish this one before getting back to her.  Hopefully this will be done before next weekend!  I'll post pics as soon as it is done!

Before I go, I have to tell you that I am really excited about the Moda Pillow Talk Blog Hop that will start on Feb 1st and run through Feb 20.  I gather that it is a blog hop featuring pillow designs with 20 different design companies, complete with interviews and giveaways!  Here is a link to more reading!  

Have a great Monday and talk with you son!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Partly Part Seven

Hi all peeps!
First off, let me just say how fun it is to see that you visit me and that you leave comments on this blog.  It is so much fun and I enjoy getting to know all of you better!  Who knew that having a blog is a fantastic way to make new friends!?
Speaking of making friends, at the stitching retreat earlier this month we discussed the hypothesis that many stitchers are introvert and for me personally, this hypothesis fits right in with with my Meyer-Briggs test results...  (I'll write more about this in another post).  That is probably why I feel so at easy in the guild.
What is also interesting to note, as an introvert, is the prejudice that sometimes seems to get connected with the word "introvert".   Does these misconceptions sound familiar: Introverts are shy, socially incompetent or awkward, withdrawn, self-centered?
I recently read a really good definition of one of the trades of introverts; we recharge and re-energize by being alone.  That is probably why so many of us enjoy stitching - the recharging process!  I feel that I can be alone in "a social way" in a stitching group.  I often find myself longing for my stitching after hours at work with meetings and phone calls.  That longing is probably not based solely in the craft itself, but also in the relaxing solitude.   Don't get me wrong; I love to hang with my work buddies during lunch and to talk with DH in the evenings, so loneliness is not the single choice - it is just a necessity on a regular basic (pretty much daily for me!). 
Here are some other statements that generally apply to introverts:
  • I am seen as “reflective” or “reserved.”
  • I feel comfortable being alone and like things I can do on my own.
  • I prefer to know just a few people well.
  • I sometimes spend too much time reflecting and don’t move into action quickly enough.
  • I sometimes forget to check with the outside world to see if my ideas really fit the experience.          (List taken from this site)
I feel that most of these statements are pretty accurate for me personally.  What do the rest of you think?  Are you a stitcher that is introvert or extrovert?  It would be really interesting to hear!
I did a quick search and found this article by an introvert woman, which I find very well written.  Some of her observations really ring the bell of recognition....

And finally, there is a reason why introverts may not be heard as often; the population ratio:
"According to several sources, extroverts make up 60% to 75% of the population, and introverts make up the remainder. This might explain society's alleged preference toward extroverted behavior. One introvert vented his frustration in an essay entitled "The Tyranny of the Extroverts." Introverts shouldn't fret, though -- even though they're outnumbered, 60% of gifted children are believed to be "on their team.""  (Taken from this web page.)

Sooo, you guys probably already knew all  of this, but I was so excited to learn more  about "myself" that I just had to share!  It is also good to hear some statements that actually make sense rather than the often repeated misconceptions stated by some extrovert individuals that think that introverts are weird... ;-)    Anyway, I apologize if this was the most boring read you ever struggled through - let me know and I'll do better!

Anyway, this evening I recharged with the DT SAL: 
As can be seen, part 7 is now completed with the exception the U and 1/2 a T - I ran out of the dark blue silk. I called both LNS over lunch break today and they don't carry Needlepoint Silk, go figure!  I proceeded to call the closer-to-KY on-line shops, since I would like the missing skein as soon as possible.  All of the stores I called have NPI, but they were all out of the particular color I needed.  I think that I had called 5 shops before I finally lucked out with the Attic in AZ....  Yay!!!  Then I get informed that they do not ship anything out that does not cost more than $5....  Well, I had to do the only rational thing - I ordered the Ann Rayner Sampler chart.  And the linen.  And the silks....  Yes, I know that I am bad, but she is just too pretty!  and the Richmond sampler will stitch up in noooo time!  (Eye-roll at myself...)

Take care and Happy Stitching!

Monday, January 24, 2011

S is for SAL

I hope that everyone had a really nice weekend.  I slept for hours, snuggled with parrots, dragged a very reluctant DH out for a walk in the winter landscape, and stitched like obsessed on the Richmond sampler.

The Richmond sampler is an interesting stitching experience..  I love the sampler, the motifs, the colors, the feel of the silk on the stitch covered areas.  I also love to see how all the silk lengths disappear from the thread holders while a sampler is born.  (Isn't that one of the wonders with stitching; you look at all the floss hanks and at the "blank" linen and you know that a picture will grow from it all.  Amazing, I think!)
The over-two ares stitch up fairly quickly and are a true joy to work on.  The over-ones - not so much.  I am way too detail fixated to be able to deal with charts, over-one diagrams and photos of the sampler that are not in agreement!  When I stitch a sampler, I want the sampler to look as it did on the photo or model on the cover.  That is what I fell for and that is why I got the sampler in the first place.  I also think that stitches out of order in an over-one section can really create problems.  So, to cut this story short, I have also done a great deal of ripping out over-one stitching that did not follow the detail photos.  It will all be worth it in the end, so it can take the time it needs.  Just need to be more careful with looking at the photo before I read the chart....
Here is a progress photo.  Sorry about the less than flat linen... I am an in-hand stitcher and this is how most my samplers look while in the process.

I also had a thought while stitching this sampler.  It has to do with the well-known video to Sledgehammer, the song by Peter Gabriel.  If you have never seen it before (my jaw dropped when I realized that both DH and P.Snickety at work are too young to remember seeing this classic!) hurry up and watch!  I remember that this was the coolest thing I had ever seen - it was truly the height of technology and art mixed together back in 1986!  I showed this video to both DH and P.Snickety and both of them looked at me and said "I don't get it!".  Sigh!!!  (For the more sensitive readers; excuse the female and male "cells" in the beginning of the video below - I don't remember seeing those on MTV, so that section was likely never shown on TV.)
 I got so obsessed that I even researched the song & video on the internet.  Plus I listened to Sledgehammer about 15 times in one evening - I don't think that I have listened to the same song over and over for ... .. well months!
Anyway, I thought that there were some really interesting things to learn about this video. :
-  This video was widely popular and influential, using claymation, pixilation, and stop motion animation that gave life to images in the song
-  Peter Gabriel was filmed under a glass table - it took 16 hrs to complete all the pictures of his face that were stitched together to make the video
-  Won nine MTV Video Music Awards in 1987, a record which still stands as of 2010.
-  Ranked at number four on MTV's 100 Greatest Music Videos Ever Made (1999). MTV later announced that "Sledgehammer" is the most played music video in the history of the station.
-  The portion of the song featuring the synthesized flute solo was realized in the video by first one and then two oven-ready turkeys, headless and featherless, animated using stop-motion. These were animated by Nick Park (of Wallace and Gromit fame) who, at that time was refining his work in plasticine animation.  (I love Wallace and Gromit - have all the movies at home!!!)

So why am I writing about this?  Because, the thought struck me that it would be so cool to make a stop motion video of a sampler in the making!  Yes, I know that I am a nerd, but really - how cool would that be!?!?  :-D

Other than that, I have pulled myself together and decided that I cannot ignore my SALs any longer.  Tonight, I finally started on part 7 for the Drawn Thread Alphabet sampler, and I have the S section complete!  The T section is pretty large while the U part is itty-bitty.  The hardest part is to drag this piece back out of the stitching room and start stitching on it, but once that hurdle has been climbed, I enjoy most of the stitches - even though in today's section, the "square boss" stitch looks pretty much identical to a rice-stitch to me (both the finished stitch itself and the way to get there...).

After the DT SAL is completed for this time, I need to get to the Moss Creek piece.  It will be hard - I am already missing the Richmond sampler.  Sniffle.  We spent so much time together this weekend that I am going through withdrawal right now.  Not good.

I also pointed out a gorgeous sampler, that is new to me, for DH today.  He didn't really get the hint...  Even though he did do a double take when I told him the prices for the silks packs that Attic Needlework offer (the sampler was their "sampler of the month" back on Feb-2010).  The trick is to read the most expensive floss first and everything else sounds almost reasonable after that...  Anyway, here is a link to a beautiful version of the Ann Rayner sampler charted by Threads Through Time.  This link will take you to photos of the original sampler and some background information by Nancy Sturgeon of TTT.
Finally, I have been updating all my WIPs to the right, so that you don't think that I ran out of unfinished projects earlier this month.  Nope, there is an almost never ending well to scoop from...  The list to the right isn't even close to complete!
Happy stitching and talk with you in a bit,

Friday, January 21, 2011

Just beautiful...

I love it!  We got snow here today again and I am like a kid!  I just came back from the grocery store, where I picked up pounds and pounds of outdoor bird food and then I just had to shovel the walk way.  I truly enjoy shoveling snow, which is something completely new for me (the "enjoy" part that is, not the "shovel" part).  Just started this winter.
Yep, I know that it was 11.30 pm when I started shoveling, but I just can't help myself - I had to get out and do it.  Plus I cheated and took a nap earlier in the evening, so it is really just around 10 pm right now in Jenny-time.  That is how it works, right!?
So, I love the snow - not crazy about how some people drive here in slick conditions though.  While out shoveling my little heart out, some clown failed to manage to stop at the stop sign at the T-crossing that our house lies in.  The driver swung wildly out in the main road and proceeded to turn the car around 180 degrees by randomly breaking & gassing wildly.  I am standing, just looking at the equipage while shaking my head in disbelief.  After the pirouette came the "maybe I'll get out of this if I push down the gas to the bottom of the car" stage.  Major failure; the wheels just spun while the car remained in the same spot.  The driver then decided that the only way to get home was to back the car all the way down to their house, about 300 yards down the street...  Sigh!  I was not exactly thrilled to realize that they live in the same neighborhood, just a few houses down the street....   Now I also strongly suspect that I know who left tire tracks in our front yard (!) last time it snowed...

Anyway, I wanted to show you some pictures before I hop off to bed:

See here at the second photo?  You can see the top of the red couch back.  This is where our parrots sit and gawk out at the sparrow, cardinals, blue jays, doves and squirrels havving meals at the bird feeders.

Speaking of snow, my colleague The Barbarian (she did not like the first name I picked for her: "MissS", so I had to rename her...  I am really trying to run a democratic show here!) showed My other co-worker P.Snicety and me a really funny video earlier today:

Other than that, I am slowly progressing on Anne Maria Clarke while watching Monk on Netflix.  Unfortunately, I really like Monk, so I tend to watch a bit more of what is going on on the screen than I did back when I watched all the Murder She Wrote and Columbo shows...  :-)

Oh, and I ordered all the floss for my Hearstring Samplery sampler today - I am very excited!

Take care and, if you have it, enjoy the snow!  :-D

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One Townhouse Coming Up!

Thanks a bunch foa all the comments on yesterday's post!  It is always so great to hear from stitchers all over the word!  I have to apologize to Peggy Lee; I should have mentioned the retreat! The retreat is held in January and here is a link to the website of the framing and stitchery store Keepsakes (a wonderful place to visit by the way!).  The retreat information is a tad tricky to find, you have to click on "About Us" at the top right on the entry page and then "stitch-Away" further down on the new page.  Beth, how cool that you and I share "peeps".  I miss'em already... :-(

Well, back to the report at hand.  Let me begin by confessing that I am really, really tired!  One of my reoccurring New Years resolutions is to go to bed at a reasonable hour.  Both DH and I are night people, so it is very hard to stick to a committed bed time.  Well, I broke my 10 o'clock bed-time goal once again.  I do have something to show for it though; the Townhouse is finally complete!  (Please excuse the poor focus of the first pic - I am posting this and then it's off to bed, so no do-overs tonight...)

What will be on the list for tomorrow?  Well, I'd love to sit down with Miss Anne Maria Clarke, but not until I take care of this mess:

Yeah, I know!  It does not look neat and tidy at all.  Can you believe that I was on the verge of OCD once upon a time?  Now I don't even care if the whole world sees my mess!  How is that for progress!!!??? ;-)
DH quickly "rescued" me from my OCD once we moved in together.  It was either that tendency breaking down or one of us getting killed.  I miss being a single girl sometimes...  Back then there were no sock explosions all over the floor, no beer-bottle caps in the bathroom, no 15 assorted parrots living in my living-room.
Anyway - I have made up some excuses that sound almost passable, I hope.  Part of my excuse is that the stash has now officially outgrown the room.  The other excuse is that I have been too busy lately - finishing stuff, ironing, sewing, traveling, posting on my brand new blog (!) and on and on - that I have not had time to keep up.  Anyway - first thing on tomorrow's Things-to-do-after-work list.  (Second should proably be "fold laundry" and third should be "vacuum".  I really, really hate vacuuming.  Sigh.)

Well, off to bed with me.  I will do my best not to dream about household chores.  With my luck, I will probably dream about getting arrested while driwinving drunk on a sky-jack.... ;-)

Thanks so much for visiting, good night and see you tomorrow!

Monday, January 17, 2011

-+=+- Retreat Report -+=+-

Oh, did we have fun at the retreat last weekend!  Let me tell you all about it!
Some of us arrived already on Thursday evening (Purple-Girl even came in on Wednesday).  The retreat was held out at beautiful Hueston Woods State Park, just north from Cincinnati.  Everything was snow-covered and we could see the huge lake from the hotel.  Geese, mallards, and ducks were all hanging out at the small openings in the ice far out there in the white landscape.
Once I had gotten in and stashed all the luggage away, I finally got to hit the stitch room and see all my peeps!  We were all pretty tired after the work week and many of us had traveled for a few hours to get to Hueston Woods.   Needless to say, we stitched our little hearts out anyway!  I stitched on a kit from Tomorrow's Antiques called An Acorn for Andrew.  I have stitched both the Pansy and the Strawberry kits in the past and it is pretty amazing how quickly they stitch up.  The neat thing is that only half crosses are used, so the stitched area gets covered in no time.  One of the ladies at the retread fell in love with the design, so I gave her the chart and the leftover beads to play with.  She is apparently as stubborn as I am, because she offered to give me money.  When I refused to accept, she promptly went to the stitchery store and bought me the sweetest, heart shaped magnetic needle-minder from Puffin Company!  Wow - stitchers are simply the most generous people in the world!

Speaking of the store - it was too much fun!  We could cut our own linen, admire models in the trunk shows, including Heartstring Samplery, Periwinkle Promises, Heart in Hand, and quite a few Jeanette Douglas.  The show that got the most attention was Erica Michael's silk gauze models.  They are absolutely gorgeous!  I have a feeling that most of us left the store with at least one EM chart each.  I chose to get Mending, which was pretty good, since I originally put 7 of them in the basket...  I also found a few charts in the "half price" bin and that was it!  I felt great - I finally have my stash collecting under control!
Until I accidentally stumbled into the store not one time more, but twice.  The first time I got some general accessories; stitcher's creme, a tape measure in form of a hen laying an egg, and a Puffin scissors minder to match my lovely gift.  The last time I just had to get the Remember Me sampler by Heartstring Samplery complete with a beautiful piece of linen.  I am so excited about this one!

We did no enhance our stash through shopping only.  A bunch of stitchers brought in used charts and freebies to give away.  I found a whole set of Homespun Elegance snowman freebies!  But best of all were the four kits that we got as surprises throughout the retreat weekend.  On Friday night we were treated to pizza, drinks and a really neat Valentines kit.  Such a cool idea; a very cute flower-pot that will hold a Valentines sign.  That will be so much fun to work on and I already have some thoughts about how to make this project my own!  On Saturday around dinner time we got a kit based on another neat idea - a medical test tube holder that will be converted into a floss holder.  I have some thoughts here too - I just can't help myself!  :-)  After out show-and-tell, we got yet another kit: a small saying that is to be inserted in an absolutely breath-taking box!  I am very, very excited about this one.  Finally on Sunday morning, right before we left, all of us were invited to stitch a tiny sign to be glued to the top of a glass jar.  I think that this will be a real cutie as well!

Well, did we get anything stitched?  You bet we did!  Thanks to the constant stitching (interrupted by a lot of laughter and socializing), I finished my Sailor's Huswif.  It pretty much took all of Friday - those apples took some real patience!  I also got the acorns done together with the flower basket that will end out being the inside of the huswife.  I am still undecided about stitching the pouch that the rolled up huswif is supposed to be stored in - there are a few elements that I am just not crazy about at all.  Oh, and the best about Friday was that I kept thinking that it was Saturday - it's like getting a bonus day over and over that way!  ;-)
On Saturday, I just had to concentrate on the Anne Maria Clarke sampler.  I am really enjoying stitching on this one right now.  I do find the chart a tad hard to read, but I will power through!  It is all worth it.  I finished the tree, the flower pot, and got started on the vine on the left hand of the (non-existing) house. 

The show-and-tell was good.  A lot of emotions for many stitchers.  I especially loved the lady who shared the sampler she stitched while going through her divorce.  She told us that she deliberately left every single mistake in the piece to show that it is all right to do mistakes.  I was very touched by this lesson.  Another stitcher caused quite a gasp when she showed us her completed Dutch Beauty.  It should probably be renamed to Dutch Big-A$$ Beauty - that piece looks like the better part of a bed sheet!  (I am kicking myself for not getting a pic of that!!!)

So what was greatest about the weekend?  Hanging out with "ma' peeps" - hands down!  Here they are in all their glory:

 Big-Dog and L-bug!
 Look what B^Hop finished!  The top to the Acorn Box Kit from Miladys Needle!
 Pickle showing that she knows that she has a problem... (or two  ;-))
 Sweetie & Snow-Angel
 Froggie with Shepherd's Bush Retreat 2010 box sampler
 Sweetie with almost finished Fruit Samplings from Hillside Samplings
 L-Bug with new project from Heart's Content
 Santa with white-work sampler
Steeler and Big Dog - talking football!
 Froggie and Miss De-String
 L-Bug, Bzz*Bzz*Bee, Big Dog, Computer Whiz, and Bounty Hunter
Purple Grl
 Juicy Fruit looks pretty skeptical here....
 Arrrgh - I hate when that happens!
We don't give up!!!
Stitching is hard work...
 Tea time (I am at the right)
Ok peeps - I'm outta here!  Back to good ol' KY!!!  (Yet, I am aware that I look smug... can't help it!)

If you want to read more about this wonderful January break, please go and visit Bzz*Bzz*Bee's blog Everybody Loved Clark!

Once I got home, I was actually stitched out...  I got myself in gear and got the acorn stitched together tonight (posing here below with the other Tomorrow's Antiques fobs) and the plan for tomorrow is to get the final nail in the Townhouse coffin...  After that, I will really try to stick with my AMC sampler!

Take Care and Happy Stitching to all peeps out there!